On the Clock: Students discuss their part-time jobs


Kathy Fang

Alisa Su (11) works at her part-time job at Teaspoon. Similar to Alisa, many harker students have part time jobs in various different stores.

by Kathy Fang and Michael Sikand

While many upper school students pursue research positions and internships to grow their professional experience, there is a substantial minority of students who work traditional service industry jobs.

The scope of duty for students with jobs in the service industry ranges from preparing food, working a cash register and handling customer service, to cleaning and maintaining their workplace.

Mitchell Kole (11) and Eric Andrus (11) both work at Lutticken’s, a family-owned counter-serve deli in Menlo Park.

“The workers never have one assigned job. Everyone is expected to run the cash register, cook, wait on customers, clean, or restock food items,” Mitchell said.

While all duties are performed at some time by Lutticken’s employees, most of Eric and Mitchell’s work consists of taking orders and making food.  

“My job is to take orders both in person as well as over the phone from customers and prepare their food and drinks,” Eric said. “The food ranges from sandwiches to tacos and burritos, and the drinks we make are coffee, teas and smoothies.”

Jenna Sadhu (11) decided to pursue a post at Yogurt & Love in downtown Los Gatos when she found some extra time after school. Similar to her deli-working classmates, Jenna’s job applies to more than just taking orders at the yogurt shop.

“I’m a closer, which means I work late afternoons and nights. I deal with customers, clean the shop, handle the register and [do] other froyo-related things,” she said. “I decided to get a job because I had free time on my hands, and colleges would also appreciate it.”

Alisa Su (11) works at Teaspoon, a café specializing in Taiwanese tea and snow. She rotates between making tea and taking orders during her shifts.

“I have to balance school and working because one shift is five hours, and that’s a lot of time, so I have to work ahead and do my homework ahead of time to plan out my work schedule,” she said.

Even students who are not old enough for a job find ways to make money while taking on additional responsibilities. Claire Newman (10) spent last summer working as a camp counselor for the Harker Summer Program at the lower school.

“It taught me a lot more of how to interact with children because I was not very good at that before, and now I’m better.” she said. “It also taught me more responsibility, because when parents put you in charge of watching their kids, that makes you set up.”

Besides college applications, some students seek work to learn professional skills and earn their own savings.

“I decided to get a job for two reasons: to earn money and to learn valuable skills. I drive around 300 miles a week and spend money on food whenever necessary. Earning a relatively steady paycheck allows me to buy these things,” Mitchell said. “Operating in a chaotic place like [Lutticken’s] forced me to realize how important it is to be hardworking. If I slack off, I let the rest of my coworkers down.”

While Mitchell wants to earn money for present affairs, Eric is saving up for future expenses.

“I wanted to make some extra money mainly to save for college. My sister had worked for a year before she left for college two years ago, and she quickly ran out of the money she had earned from her job,” Eric said. “I decided to start earning some money early in hopes to avoid the same thing happening to me. I also wouldn’t mind buying myself something nice every once in awhile.”

Students can locate available posts by searching on the web for hiring businesses in one’s area, asking a manager or identifying signs in the windows of businesses.  

“Students should go around their local neighborhoods and look for help wanted signs,” Jenna said. “That’s what I did. Then I went inside the shop and asked for an application. I started training three days after turning my application in.”

Students can have trouble in securing a post after being interviewed or submitting their resume.

“Finding jobs is only as difficult as you make it. Make sure to seem super interested in the possible job opportunity you may be applying for and convince employers that you are more than the right fit,” Mitchell said. “One thing you can do to achieve this is building a resume. No matter how serious the job you may be applying for is, employers like to see them because they show your dedication towards application. Overall, just be flexible, be serious and wear something nice.”

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on February 21, 2017.